Too many people who need addiction treatment don’t get it because they believed in some drug rehab myth. According to statistics, roughly 1 out of every 10 Americans over the age of 12 is currently suffering from addiction. Yet only about 1 in 10 addicts receive any sort of treatment for their addictions, indicating just how few people there are entering into addiction treatment programs.
These alarming figures prompt many to wonder why, exactly, recovery is so elusive. Clearly, most addicts are resistant to the recovery process, or perhaps they reject it altogether. In fact, there are a number of reasons why an addict might prefer to remain in active addiction rather than to enter a treatment program at a drug rehab, but many of those so-called reasons are based on some common myths and misconceptions that people have regarding drug rehabs and the recovery process in general.
The following are several of the most common myths people have when it comes to addiction treatment and recovery centers as well as the reality of drug rehabs that will help to dispel those myths.
Drug Rehab Myth #1: Drug Rehabs Are Like Prisons
If addiction treatment centers were actually prisons, there wouldn’t be so many drug courts appearing all across the country, giving criminal offenders the choice to either serve a prison sentence in an actual jail or enroll in an addiction treatment program at a drug rehab.
In reality, there are so many differences between rehabs and prisons as to make them virtually incomparable. Prison represents the punitive system, punishing individuals for crimes they have committed against others; in contrast, rehab is more about the crimes individuals have committed against their own bodies, polluting them with substances that have been physically and psychologically harmful.
Rehab doesn’t punish individuals for the so-called crimes they’ve committed against themselves. Rather, rehab is about healing and overcoming the effects of habitual, long-term substance abuse. It’s about helping individuals to learn the skills and strategies they need to not only achieve sobriety, but to sustain their sobriety indefinitely. Clearly, drug rehabs are very, very different from prisons.
Drug Rehab Myth #2: Drug Rehabs Can Cure Addiction
Addiction is a progressive, chronic disease, which means that it can’t be cured and, if left untreated, it will continue to get worse and worse until an individual either dies or chooses to get help. Drug rehabs can’t offer addicts a cure to their suffering, but addiction isn’t a disease of which one must be cured in order to live a happy, healthy, independent life free from alcohol and drugs.
One needs only to learn how to prevent relapse. When an individual can learn how to resist substance abuse even in times of stress and even when confronted with a trigger, he or she is as close to cured as possible since the disease can only actively cause harm when a person succumbs to alcohol or drug use.
Drug Rehab Myth #3: Programs at Drug Rehabs Are Religious or Faith-based
Many people are under the impression that drug rehabs are religious facilities that only offer faith-based programming, but this is a misconception. Perhaps it’s because so many people associate addiction treatment with the Twelve Steps and the Serenity Prayer, each of which reference things like “God” and “faith.”
While there are a number of facilities that offer faith-based programs for those who would prefer to incorporate their beliefs into the recovery process, the recovery process is based on the idea that there’s not one specific type of treatment or program that can adequately address every addict’s needs completely.
This means that while there are a number of faith-based treatment programs available, there are many non-religious programs available too, as well as treatment programs for women, LGBTQ programs, holistic programs, and so on. In short, religious treatments are available for those who would prefer them, but not all drug rehabs offer faith-based programming.
Drug Rehab Myth #4: If You Try Really Hard, You Can Recover Faster
Although determination and hard work are invaluable, essential ingredients for a successful recovery, they won’t necessarily allow a person to recover any faster. Recovery is a very complicated process that differs in virtually every way from one person to the next.
The amount of time it takes to achieve sustainable sobriety depends on a number of factors—the substance to which one is addicted, length of time spent in active addiction, severity of the addiction or the amount of a substance consumed on a daily basis, family history of addiction, etc.—and, therefore, isn’t a constant, but rather depends on the person at hand.
Additionally, studies have found that the longer a person stays in an intensive treatment program, the better his or her chances of achieving long-lasting sobriety.
Drug Rehab Myth #5: After a Relapse, You Have to Start All Over
There’s a common misconception that relapse means a person has failed at recovery and must start the whole process all over again. On the contrary, even the most reputable sources emphasize that relapses, or so-called “slips”, are a natural, expected part of the recovery process.
In fact, only a very few individuals who complete an addiction treatment program at a drug rehab achieve permanent sobriety on the first try without even a single slip or relapse. The process of recovery is much like any other journey, which will have ups and downs, good days as well as bad. A relapse or slip doesn’t mean that one must start over; however, it’s important to acknowledge a relapse and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
One should reflect on a relapse and think about what it was that caused it, whether it was due to having encountered a previously unknown trigger or merely a moment of weakness. Relapses should be used as a means of reinforcing one’s recovery by ensuring that the same substance abuse triggers don’t cause additional relapses or slips in the future.
Drug Rehab Myth #6: Getting Addiction Treatment Means Losing Your Job
There’s a very negative stigma attached to those who suffer from addiction. Due in part to the portrayal of addicts in the media, most people assume that addiction inevitably results in the most extreme repercussions that they could imagine: Homelessness, severe emaciation, a person’s having contracted HIV/AIDS from other drug users, and so on.
As such, many addicts are hesitant to receive treatment as they don’t want to admit their addictions and become stigmatized by their family members, friends, coworkers, and employers. In fact, most addicts believe that enrolling in programming at drug rehabs will cost them their jobs and careers.
However, this is not the case. There are two pieces of federal regulation—the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act—that protect the jobs of those who seek and receive treatment for addiction. In effect, these individuals have the right to receive treatment and, similar to maternity leave for women, their jobs will be held for them while they complete their programs.
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There are many misconceptions, misunderstandings, and assumptions people have about the recovery process, many of which discourage those in need from seeking out the treatments and therapies that can help them. In reality, drug rehabs are nothing like prison and aren’t faith-based or religious facilities. And while they can’t cure addiction, they can certainly help individuals addicted to alcohol and drugs to get their lives back.
If you or someone you love would benefit from learning more about the recovery process, call Drug Treatment Center Finder at 855-619-8070. Our recovery specialists are available anytime, day or night, for free consultations and assessments. With one phone call, you or your loved one can begin the journey back to a life of sobriety, health, and fulfillment.